*With no polarizing figure to attract an audience beyond “Dancing With the Stars” die-hards, ratings for the ABC show’s two-hour season premiere Monday night was down 20 percent from last year’s premiere, which included Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol.

Last night marked the series’ lowest spring premiere in total viewers since March 2008 (21.2 million).

However, the season 12 debut – featuring Wendy Williams, Sugar Ray Leonard, Romeo and Hines Ward among the cast – still outdrew its nearest competitor by 13 million viewers, making it the most-watched and the highest-rated program on Monday night.

While Ralph Macchio and Kirstie Alley made strong impressions and lead in the judges scores (24 and 23 out of 30, respectively ), things didn’t go nearly as well for Wendy Williams, who only managed 14 points – the second lowest. [Watch below.]

On her talk show today, Williams said she thought she deserved better a score – and that her spin move with partner Tony Dovolani  was “fabulous.”

Despite this upbeat tone, Williams admitted that on the flight back to New York after the show, “I was ferklempt. I was thinking, like, I’m such a loser.”

But she seemed buoyed by an audience where everyone was waving a fan with the number “10” – a perfect score – as the show opened. The audience was also encouraged several times to call in their votes to “Dancing.”

Williams said she became distracted by her introductory video, which showed Williams breaking down.

“I’m a crier,” she said. “But I didn’t expect that to be on the air. I was totally thrown off.”

She repeated several times that she was “not making excuses” for a performance the “DWTS” judges called timid and uninspiring.  Williams vowed to elevate her game before next week’s elimination.

“I will totally do better than a 14,” she said.